Tuesday, 24 April 2012

US wants normalised relations with Pakistan: Gen Dempsey

US General Martin E Dempsey said US wants normalised relations with Pakistan.

Talking to media while leaving for Brazil to Columbia, Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E Dempsey said that he had spoken with Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at least five times since the Salala incident in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a Nato air raid.

He was responding to questions regarding the meeting of Commander of US Central Command Gen James Mattis and commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen with COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Wednesday.

It was the highest level-military meeting between the two countries since a November 26 cross-border Nato air raid.

Dempsey said the US wanted to reset military-to-military relationship with Pakistan including working the border issues and reopening the ground supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan. “We want to rebuild the trust and confidence between our two militaries,” General Dempsey said.

Gen Dempsey said he believes the two militaries can discuss what must be done in Pakistan’s federally administered tribal areas to improve the situation in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Policy on Siachen issue remains unchanged: FO PAKISTAN

Pakistan wants peaceful resolution of Siachen issue, spokesperson said.

Foreign Office today said there was no change in the policy on the Siachen issue with India and that it had no plans to redeploy its troops from the glacier described as the world s highest and coldest battlefield.

"There is no change as far as Pakistan s policy or position on Siachen is concerned," Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan told a weekly news briefing.

He was responding to questions about army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani s remarks yesterday that Pakistan and India should resolve all issues, including Siachen, to ensure "peaceful co-existence".

"We are not thinking in terms of redeployment of our troops," Khan said. The Pakistani side has made several proposals to resolve the military standoff on Siachen, including a proposal for "re-deployment of forces", he said.

"I said that the proposals that we have made regarding Siachen includes mutual redeployment of troops. "We are not thinking of (any unilateral redeployment of troops)," he added.

The dispute over Siachen, which dates back to 1984, has been in focus since an avalanche slammed into a high-altitude Pakistan Army camp on April 7, burying 127 soldiers and 11 civilians under dozens of feet of snow.

After visiting the site of the avalanche yesterday, Kayani had said that there "should be a resolution of Siachen and other issues".

Khan said the Siachen issue was part of the ongoing dialogue between the two countries and is being discussed by the Defence Secretaries.

He also said Pakistan-India will soon resume secretarial level talks in Islamabad.

Responding to a question regarding reopening of NATO supply routes, Khan said applicable plan needs to be devised, however no such decision has been taken as yet.

Post-revolution Egypt cuts gas to Israel

Egypt has repealed a 2005 gas export accord with Israel, which used to rely heavily on Egyptian natural gas to generate electricity.

The country used to be Tel Aviv’s strongest Arab ally during the roughly-30-year-long rule of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in a popular revolution in February 2011.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Ralph Schoenman, political commentator, to further discuss the issue. The following is a transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Give us your thoughts on the explanation given for canceling out the gas deal with Israel, and do you think this will scrap the 20-year deal altogether?

Schoenman: First of all, we have to understand that this gas deal was symbolic of the corruption and the total collusion between the Mubarak regime and the Zionist state under the dictate of American imperialism and there are many facets of this.

It is not only that the population mobilized around this corruption and this collusion with Israel and turned on Mubarak, but the population has been bombing the pipelines to such an extent that nothing has been delivered since March 5 through the constant popular interference and interruption of the gas flow itself.

US plans post-2014 stay in Afghanistan

As anti-American sentiment is growing among Afghans, the US and Afghanistan government have agreed on a draft for a strategic partnership deal.

The accord, which has not been made public, outlines the US role in the country for a decade after 2014, when most foreign combat forces are expected to leave.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Habib Hakimi, political analyst, to further discuss the issue.

The following is a transcription of the interview.

Press TV: After nearly a year of negotiations, the US and Afghanistan say they have finalized their “Strategic Partnership Agreement.” What role do you think the US seeks to have in your country beyond the end of 2014, and through 2024?

Hakimi: I think the United States will need to have military bases in Afghanistan after 2014 because the Taliban are still strong in Afghanistan, and they are fighting against the government in Afghanistan. NATO forces in Afghanistan, politically and militarily, are not stable.

On the other hand, Afghanistan faces many challenges from abroad. Afghanistan’s geopolitical position requires it to be strong enough to confront other dangers coming from abroad. Because of this, I think the government of Afghanistan, Afghan security forces will not be strong enough to fight against the Taliban insurgence after 2014 [and beyond].

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